Taxi Driver Revisited

2016 marks the 40th anniversary of Martin Scorsese’s classic film, Taxi Driver. The classic psychological neo-noir has received praise all across the board, and it is certainly well deserved.

Taxi Driver follows former marine and Vietnam veteran Travis Bickle (played by Robert De Niro) as he takes a job as a cab driver in New York in order to cope with his insomnia. During his time as a cabbie, Bickle becomes increasingly unstable, as he gets a very good look at the low life scum that dwells in New York. Bickle is an interesting case, and it’s difficult to talk about the film itself without talking about its protagonist. As the film progresses, the audience sees Travis’ thoughts become more and more violent. He sees the worst of the worst during his shifts, and begins feeling urges to “clean it up.” On top of that, unfortunate events occur in Travis’ social life that further drive him over the edge.

Robert De Niro has been often hailed for his fantastic performances, and this film is no exception. He succeeds in portraying a man who is very disturbed, but in a more subtle way. The other actors perform well, but this is very much De Niro’s film, as almost all scenes feature Bickle, with the exception of two. Jodie Foster certainly deserves attention in this film. At the age of 12, this was one of her first serious film roles, and she performs very well even at her young age.

One very sad thing is that not many “young” people have seen this movie. A quick survey shows that five of five CHC upper school students have never seen Taxi Driver. This is truly a shame, as this film is regarded as one of the great classics, but it seems that many kids nowadays don’t give movies from the 70s a second glance. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence, as many modern children automatically think that older films are “bad” or “boring” simply because they are older. This is a very big mistake, as these children are missing out on some really good stuff.

Overall, “Taxi Driver” is a classic movie that expertly mixes psychological elements with noir elements, to tell the story of a deeply disturbed man. Robert De Niro´s performance is fantastic, and adds a lot to the character of Travis Bickle and the film as a whole. The final rating for “Taxi Driver” is a 9 out of 10.